There was a time, not too terribly long ago, when the average American family had little to fear from bed bugs. These invasive pests were the stuff of bedtime stories and nursery rhymes. Something to scare the kiddies with when you tucked them in at night. But those days are long gone.
Bed bug infestations are once again on the rise, with these invasive pests spreading like a proverbial wildfire throughout the country. And they are turning up in some pretty surprising places. If you always thought bed bugs only infested the odd down-and-out apartment building or dodgy roadside motel you were seriously mistaken. These blood-suckers can, and will, turn up just about anywhere. If you need some proof we can start with these 7 bed bug hotspots that are bound to shock and surprise you.
1 – Public Libraries
The local library should be a place of quiet contemplation. You roll in, browse the shelves, and take out a stack of books to read at your leisure. But there’s always a possibility the books you’re bringing home might have some unwanted guests hiding between the pages.
People tend to read when they’re lounging in comfort. It might be on the couch or while laying in bed at the end of a long day. When the book gets laid aside any bed bugs that might be lurking in your bed or in your comfy chair can migrate to the dark and cool confines of your book. When you return the book to the library those bed bugs have a new environment to explore and infest.
Once in the library the bed bugs will spread out, infesting the upholstered chairs, books, bookshelves and baseboards. When someone checks out a book those same bed bugs have an opportunity to travel to yet another new environment. That’s why libraries have to be alert to potential pest problems and why it always pays to check out your books before you check out your books (if you see what I mean).
2 – Movie Theaters
Movie theaters are high traffic areas. Every day hundreds of people enter the theater, take their seat, and spend a couple of hours lost in the big screen. But what they don’t know is they may be sharing that experience with some unwanted pests.
Bed bugs are well known hitchhikers. They cling to pant cuffs, overcoats, backpacks and handbags. It’s one of the ways they spread into new environments. When someone carrying a hitchhiking bed bug takes their seat in the theater it creates the opportunity for that bed bug to migrate to the theater’s seats and headrests. This creates an opportunity for bed bugs to move on to other movie goers and following them home, where they can start yet another infestation.
3 – Churches
Houses of worship should be safe havens from all kinds of pernicious pests. Unfortunately, even churches and synagogues are vulnerable to bed bug infestations. Much like theaters the steady traffic of people creates an opportunity for hitchhiking bed bugs to infest pews, carpeting and draperies. Once they’ve colonized the building it’s only a matter of time before members of the congregation begin to experience the effects of a bed bug infestation. They may find themselves being bitten during the sermon, or acting as hosts of a handful of hitchhiking bed bugs looking for an even better environment to infest.
4 – Daycares and Preschools
Daycares and preschools have become increasingly prone to bed bug infestations. Staff, children and parents can easily bring the pests into the facility without knowing it, carrying them in on their clothing or personal belongings. All it takes is one family with an infested home to start a secondary infestation at their child’s daycare or preschool.
Bed bugs prefer to feed under cover of darkness, but that doesn’t mean they won’t happily come out to feed during the day if they feel they can get away with it. Nap time at daycare centers and preschools can give a hungry bed bug just the opportunity they’ve been waiting for. The rise of bed bug infestations in daycares and schools has become such a problem in the United States the EPA has issued formal guidelines to help combat the issue.
5 – Hospitals and Nursing Homes
We tend to think of medical facilities as clean and wholesome places, and that’s largely true. But once again the heavy human traffic makes them potential bed bug hotspots. With people coming and going all day there’s ample opportunity for hitchhiking bed bugs to put in an appearance or two, and once there they tend to dig in for the long haul.
In many ways hospitals and nursing homes present the same challenges as hotels and motels. When you check in you should always be careful where you store your clothes and belongings. Even more importantly, when you check out you should take care to inspect your personal belongings to ensure you don’t end up bringing any unwanted guests home with you.
Keeping an Eye Out for Bed Bug Hotspots
Bed bugs have become a major pest control issue throughout the United States. While we tend to think of bed bugs as household pests they can, and will, turn up just about anywhere you find human beings. Where people go so goes the bed bug. Knowing that bed bugs can infest just about any public venue may be worrisome, but it also allows us all to take the necessary steps to protect ourselves of potential exposure to these troublesome pests.